Posts Tagged With: solar

Las Vegas, Nevada To Barstow, California

The motorhome is parked at the Idle Spurs Restaurant in Barstow, California. I expect to be here 3-4 days.

Mary continues to be occupied with personal business. I am now not expecting to see her again until I arrive at her home in Murphys, California about the third week in April. It’s just the way things are and we just have to deal with it.

Yesterday I drove the motorhome the 160 miles from Las Vegas, Nevada to Barstow, California. 95+% of the trip was on Interstate Highway 15, the main route between Las Vegas, Nevada and Los Angeles, California. Barstow is about midway between the two cities.

As always you may left click upon an image to see an enlarged view and then click once again to see an even larger view…

In Nevada, Interstate Highway 15 is 6 lanes…speed limit is 70 miles per hour…


About one hour later you enter California where it becomes four lanes…speed limit is 70 miles per hour and 55 for all vehicles towing…


Some kind of a large solar installation on the right…


In the below photo I’m traveling in the slow truck lane doing 55-60 on the 17 mile long decent to Baker, California…


Which is home to the World’s tallest thermometer. At 134 feet it signifies the highest temperature ever record at Death Valley which begins just north of Baker. You can read all about the thermometer by clicking this link…


A few miles out of Barstow I left the Interstate Highway to drive on old historic U.S. Route 66…


I knew Barstow had an American Legion, Eagles and VFW…so I thought no problem finding a place to park. Wrong! At 1:15 PM The American Legion had a locked gate. That won’t work. The Eagles Club is in the center of town with a very small, rough sloping parking lot that wouldn’t work. I ended up at the VFW six miles on the other side of town where the only place to park was against the wall…


And this was the dinette window photo…


After I has a cold beer to cool me down I went outside to the motorhome where my weather station told me it was 87 DEGREES! up against that wall. That won’t work…so I made a couple of quick phone calls and got permission to park at the Idle Spurs Restaurant about two miles north of town. A whole lot better…


With a better dinette window view…


I’m expecting to be here 3-4 days. You can read all about Barstow by clicking this link…,_California


Yesterday was a sunny and 87 degrees. Forecast for today is sunny and 77 degrees.

The red dot on the below map shows our approximate location in the State of Nevada. You may double left-click the map to make it larger…


Enjoying 65-75 degree temperatures with low humidity most of the year is a primary joy in the RVing lifestyle!

“Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving”…Albert Einstein


On October 27, 2012, I created a two-minute video titled America The Beautiful. The music America The Beautiful is by Christopher W. French. The photos, which I randomly selected, are from the states of Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Montana, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Tennessee, Washington and West Virginia (not shown in that order)…are mine. Yup, That’s me standing in front of the Post Office in Luckenbach, Texas…Y’all!

Click this link to start the video. Make sure you have your speakers turned on and go to full screen asap.

If you would like to see my YouTube videos, click this link…

There are more than 500 photo albums in my Picasa Web Albums File. To gain access, you simply have to click this link…

If you have not checked out my Ramblin Man’s Photos Blog, you can do so by clicking this link…

For more information about my books, click this link:

All original material Copyright – Jim Jaillet 2015

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When I’m home, I read the news. I probably shouldn’t because it makes me angry. So, howzit doing out there? I read where Assault Weapons have been removed from the bill to Ban Assault Weapons.  Guess the gun lobby won. Hmmm!  Why am I not surprised?

And, lets see, what was accomplished after our ten-year war with Iraq? 600,000 Iraqi civilians killed, about the same number of Iraqi children homeless; over 4,000 Americans killed with 30,000 wounded, maimed, mentally impaired. A stronger Iran, more intelligent, and highly trained terrorists with more sophisticated weaponry. Staggering cost of war of $3,000,000,000 dollars and another $3,000,000,000 in medical costs for vets yet to come; Oh, and an increased hostility to Americans around the world. Wow!  What a minus -zero accomplishment that is.

Guess we have to look at China for any good news. Washington has been tracking the Chinese Government’s stunning example of solar cooking on a large-scale. China funds parabolic sun cookers and uses carbon credit trading to encourage investors to become involved. This is not small-scale at the village level. It is a valuable resource that can significantly reduce global carbon emissions because it reduces the use of coal cookers and deforestation. It cuts fuel use by 30 to 50 per cent. Pretty nifty.

Everyone I introduce to solar cooking is awed by its ease of use. You can substitute one of the bubbly, fake aluminum windshield screens as a cooker. They work, but aren’t stable if it is windy. And, we take our fresh water for granted. Much of the world needs to pasteurize water before drinking it. Voila! The solar pasteurization kit.

The sun, it keeps on shining.


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I had an opportunity to meet Mike and Irene Boylson-Perbal from Mokelumne Hill. Irene offered a gourmet Indonesian dinner,  and since I have a connection to Indonesia, I was delighted to have such an opportunity. I’ll explain our connection, briefly. My student, Linda Djamaludin stayed with our family for a year in 1986. She is Muslim. Anytime you connect with another culture, you learn something; it changes your perspective and changes you.

My friend, Carol Gordon accompanied me and I must apologize for my out of focus pictures. My little “purse” camera does not do well without a flash-my error to have turned it off. Anyway, Carol hosted a student from South Africa the same year Linda lived with my family.

Meeting Mike and Irene for the first time, and getting to know each other, over the course of the evening, made me realize, we evolve. I’m not the same person I was in 1986. We live several lifetimes, we go out into the world, and change. We change each other and hopefully change our world to be a little better than what we found. I found that true of Mike and Irene and Carol, too. Kind of a Buddhism concept, before the afterlife.

We covered so many subjects, travel, books, politics, cultures, military, solar cooking, poverty in America and developing countries, it was an invigorating evening.  Mike is a serious and avid reader of politics and history, and philosophy.  He is retired military with a varied and applied life through two wars, WWII and Korea. He spent gobs of time in France and speaks some French and enjoyed a stellar career.

Irene is Dutch, and most of her family is from Indonesia and Belgium. As a child, her family secretly protected Jews and her father was hauled off to a Nazi prison camp and never seen again. A world traveler, she speaks many languages and her major project is spreading the word about solar cooking. She is active with Jackson Rotary and won for them the prize awarded by Rotary International for the best International Project with her solar cooking demonstrations and teachings.

While our wonderful Indonesian dinner of Nasi Goreng, Ajam Ketjap, Sajoer Lodeh and Boeboer Mango, (colored rice, Chicken in soy, beans in coconut milk, mango custard) and plain old American wine was the focus of the evening, we were all over the world instead.

Mike and Irene have hammocks from countries that grow colored cotton.  This orangey-pink hammock is not dyed.

Jewelry made from all natural products, including the tagua nut which is hard and beautiful and carveable. It is called vegetable ivory. I had never heard of it  before.

But I was most fascinated with Irene’s work with solar. She has traveled to other countries and demonstrated solar cookers. I love my solar oven and little hot-pot. I’ve gotten others to use solar ovens locally. But Irene does this in a big way.

The question she is asked most often, is:  What do you do when the sun doesn’t shine?” She introduces them to the hay basket and the rocket stove.  I knew that countries like India, African countries, Guatemala, South American countries that have pockets of deep poverty, where propane is expensive and wood becoming scarce and water in need of pasteurization can be solved with the sun. The rocket stove, an insulated pipe will cook food with very little scrap fuel. And another alternative: if you heat your food boiling hot and then cover the pan and sink it into a basket of hay and cover it over, it will continue to cook and be ready to eat when you return from work, thus using minimal fuel. Wonderful survival techniques. But even more impressive, Irene presented to her Rotary group poverty in America. At first they didn’t want to believe it. But, what does someone do who is living on the streets or in a vacant lot or in their car?  How can they cook food? Using solar. She reaches out in her own community and changes it for the better. And, there is that type of poverty in our own counties, we just don’t see it.   Mike and Irene are two fascinating people and I am thrilled to have met them, learned new things and enjoyed a wonderful evening.

We stood for a few fleeting minutes and enjoyed a lovely sunset. Carol and I hated to leave for home.

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Taos, New Mexico – Day 3

The motorhome is currently parked at the Fraternal Order Of Eagles Airee #3849. I expect to be here for several days.

On Friday, my first full day on Taos, I decided take the Bronco and backtrack a few miles. Heading West on U.S. Highway 64 I started across the about 20 mile-wide Taos Plateau…

As always you may left click upon an image to see an enlarged view and then click once again to see an even larger view…

The only problem that you cannot see from the above photo is a 650 foot hole in the ground created by the Rio Grande River. If it wasn’t for the Gorge Bridge it would be challenging to cross.

I took the following photos of the bridge and gorge in the watercolor painting mode because I liked them better than in the normal picture mode. It makes them look like old-fashioned postcards…

Looking at the bridge from a southwest view point…

Looking across the bridge roadbed east back towards Taos…

Looking south at the river gorge…

Looking east along the side of the bridge and gorge…

Looking straight down at the river 650 feet below…

Looking north at the river gorge…

You can read all about this bridge by clicking this Wikipedia informational link…

Back in the normal picture mode, I drove about 1.5 miles west of the bridge to visit the site of the Greater World Earthship Community. It’s a subdivision of homes built with natural recycled materials, solar thermal heating, solar and wind electric power, water harvesting, contained sewerage treatment and food production. It’s called sustainable living.

This is the visitors center…

This wall is made of bottles, tires, concrete and adobe…

A look through the bottom of one of the bottles…

and another…

Here are some other views…

You can read all about these Earthships by clicking this link…

If you have not checked out my new Ramblin Man’s Photos Blog, you can do so by clicking this link…

All original material Copyright – Jim Jaillet 2012
For more information about my three books, click this link:

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This year, the Obama administration moved to streamline the development of large-scale solar projects on public lands by approving vast tracts across the West  identified as the highest generating potential with the fewest environmental impacts. These sites were identified after the results of an environmental impact report.  An area of 285,000 acres, with sites in Nevada, Colorado, Utah, California, Arizona and New Mexico are in the works.  Jim and I saw one of those massive solar plants  being built in New Mexico earlier in the year.  We wondered why it was out in the middle of no-where. We didn’t know about the way the sites were chosen. Anyway, net result is clean power and jobs, jobs, jobs.

When I had my solar installed, there was a handful of people installing under rigid inspections and rules to make sure there was no space for failure during the process. Now I could choose from 600 different solar producers and as many installers. The rigid inspection process is still that way. I’m investigating solar for a rental because costs have come down so far.

And, we get enough electricity from wind power for 13 million homes. The energy department predicts  that by 2030, we could get 20 percent of our energy from the wind, about as much as we now get from nuclear power plants.

But progress on wind power is in jeopardy because Congress  has yet to renew an important incentive set to expire at the end of this year. It is called the production tax credit, or PTC,  Without it orders for wind turbines are likely to stall, impeding our transition away from coal. The wind industry employs over 37,000 Americans, and we need to keep those jobs, jobs, jobs.

The PTC was instituted by the George H.W. Bush administration, a sensible policy where anyone who operates a wind turbine or solar biomass, or other type of renewable power plant that produces a significant level of electricity to the commercial grid, receives a federal tax credit of 2.2 cents for every kilowatt-hour of power it produces for the first ten years of its life. It got renewed by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act stimulus package of 2009.

Two Republicans, Representative David Reichert, and Senator Chuck Grassley have sponsored versions to renew it through 2016 in the house, and 2014 in the senate. Neither measure  has come up for a vote but it is already being heavily lobbied against by the fossil fuel industries.

As a political pessimist, I fear the worst, and hope I’m wrong.  Wind generation is actually competitive in price with the energy produced by NEW coal plants and in my opinion no NEW coal plants should  be issued permits until they can reduce industrial pollution to an acceptable level. Coal plants actually cause deaths from their mercury, soot and carbon emissions, not to mention death to fish in streams.  Wind and solar save our planet from tons and tons of carbon emissions, a clean air benefit for everybody.


Security lapses at nuclear site found before break-in
Security problems at Y-12 nuclear complex were identified in classified reports nearly two years before three activists broke into the facility where weapons-grade uranium is stored.
( by Dana Priest , The Washington Post)

After the Japanese disaster, and the huge up front government subsidies to build nuclear power plants (way over the small PTC tax credits), and proven vulnerability of nuclear power plants,  why would we as a responsible nation even consider building more nuclear power plants? The cost to run them  per watt exceeds that of wind and solar. The volatile nature of Uranium, its storage and no ability to render it harmless, are an ever-present danger. In a nuclear plant disaster, the cost to bring it back on-line, if it could be repaired at all, is billions.

If you add into the equation the affects of climate change on hydro power,  wind and solar seem like an even better bet. Check the link below.

And, don’t get me started on fracking. What a dismal proposal that is. I hope you are listening Obama and Canada.


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Things are far more complicated than they seem, certainly more complicated than I’m capable of imagining.

I try to buy whatever I need made in America and  avoid buying stuff made in China, nearly impossible in my community. We don’t have the variety of shopping options that city people do. And, I’m a solar nut. I love it, I’m delighted that California leads the nation in solar installations and even without taking the subsidies away from big oil, solar is booming. Now, listen to this:

Solar is booming because cheap panels are coming from China. That leads to competition. Solar panels made in the USA, Germany and Japan are still available and China has forced prices down everywhere.  Since we have a trade deficit with China, it is nice to see it benefit us in such a big way.  American installers are doing a brisk business and we are moving toward sustainable energy because  clean technology is almost as cheap as dirty fossil fuels. The US and the European Union are threatening to stifle this breakthrough. So, how?

Both the US and EU give billions in taxpayer subsidies to Big Oil and Coal. Do they turn those subsidies to clean energy?  No, they are about to drive solar prices back up by putting tariffs on China and China is threatening to retaliate?  Oh, let’s have a trade war. Who would benefit by hurting the burgeoning, green solar industry?  The oil and coal industry, of course. I’m not saying we don’t need oil, I’m just saying we shouldn’t subsidize it anymore. Why not turn those subsidies into clean energy. The oil companies rake in billions in profits and we still subsidize them?  Enough is enough.

I’d rather see them rescind the whole trade agreement than tariff solar. China has a poor human rights record and they supply us with our own stuff at cheaper prices. I read in Smithsonian Magazine where one expert claims that “Every major company in the United States has already been penetrated by China.”  He also fears they have implanted logic bombs , trapdoors and Trojan horses in our electronics, l that can be activated on command like a cyber-Pearl Harbor attack. That may be fear mongering, but we certainly stand to lose our competitive edge. Our F-35 Bomber technology- important and our early American quilt patterns- irritating.

The farm industry in the U.S. has been facing declining beef and pork consumption in the U.S.  Now, land grabs for grazing land are being taken over to keep beef flowing to Asian countries. Yup!  They take our electronics, steal or buy our technology, and now we export our food to them.

China has a poor human rights and environmental record, and its strategy of flooding the global market with subsidised goods is annoying and costly to jobs. The best thing is not to blame China, but to aggressively entreat our leaders to subsidize US solar manufacturers with cheap loans just like China does. We should learn from their practices.

Experts predict that tariffs could cost 60,0000 US jobs. So, cheaper panels provide more work for people. Forget the tariff. It only sounds like a good answer.

More information:

NYT — “U.S. Slaps High Tariffs on Chinese Solar Panels”

Bloomberg – “U.S. Solar Tariffs On Chinese Cells May Boost Prices”

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